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Control and Manipulation in Shakespeare’s Othello

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To be able to handle or control something, typically in a skillful manner is manipulating. In other words getting someone to do things that make them do what you want. The more control you have over an individual the more likely they will do whatever you say. Everyday its people in the world that are manipulated or even controlled without even knowing it. Our friends, family, even our government do these things to us without even knowing it. In the play Othello, there are characters who really show these treats. Throughout the play, control and manipulation is exemplified in several characters and their relationships, such as Iago and Brabantio, Desdemona and Brabantio, and Roderick and Iago.

In the start of the play we are introduced to the Iago which is one of characters who show control and manipulation. We learn that there are two characters that are in love by the name of Desdemona and Othello. Iago goes and tells Desdemona’s father this “ Though i do hate him as i do hell-pains, yet, for necessity of present life, i must show out a flag and sign of love, which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him”. In this line Iago is telling us how he hates Othello but yet because he works for him he has to at least pretend to be loyal to him. So here in scene one he already starts to plot against Othello.

As act one scene three continues we learn that Desdemona and Othello are going to get married even though her father is against the fact that she wants to marry him. He also showed signs of control in the scene. After Desdemona told her dad that they were going to get married he said to her “Come hither, gentle mistress. Do you perceive in all this noble company where most you owe obedience”. He’s asking her to where does your loyalty lie. Trying to use him being her dad as a way to control and even manipulate her into not marrying othello.

Later on in the play at the end of act one scene three Roderigo comes and confesses his love for desdemona to Iago. He later find out that she is getting married to Othello which sends him into a depressing moment. He say “i will incontinently drown myself”. He felt if he couldn’t have the lady he loved the he doesn’t want to be alive. Iago took this weak moment as a chance to take control and manipulate Roderigo. He said “ Follow thou the wars; defeat they favor with an usurped beard. I say, put money in thy purse. It cannot belong that Desdemona should continue her love to the moor”. This part he is saying to Roderigo if you sell everything you have for money and she sees you she will want you and not othello. In reality he was really having him do this so he could later on have the money, because he knew she wasn’t going to leave Othello. However he convinced him that all this was true and would take place.

In Othello there are a lot of themes that show themselves however two of them show up more than others and they are, control and manipulation. Throughout the play Othello a lot of characters have shown that they have these two traits. There is a lot of controlling and manipulation going on and no one really notices it. Just like in the world today. The government and our friends and family do the same things to us and we never notice it until the end of the story. It’s not just in plays and books these things happen, but it also happens in our world everyday. 

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Control And Manipulation In Shakespeare’s Othello. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from
“Control And Manipulation In Shakespeare’s Othello.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Control And Manipulation In Shakespeare’s Othello. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Feb. 2023].
Control And Manipulation In Shakespeare’s Othello [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2023 Feb 6]. Available from:
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